Monday, January 31, 2011

Reason 812 why I love a good conversation.

There are very few things in life I genuinely appreciate as much as good conversation.  Not just small talk, but where the conversation becomes a living, dynamic part of the company.  Over time I've come to realize that good conversation does not come from good topics, but from good conversationalists. 

812 Attributes of an Excellent Conversationalist

1. They make their point and elaborate on it, but don't harp on restating it over and over simply with different wording.
2. They don't create filler just to lead and dominate the conversation.
3. Unless they point they are making or story they are telling is extremely important, they will let the topic derail and move onto whatever flows next.
4. This isn't small talk.
5. They do not agree with everything you say for the sake of agreement.  They will be able to elaborate on why they agree without simply restating what you just said.
6. They will not disagree with everything simply for the sake of being disagreeable.
7. They understand that disagreement does not need to result in conflict, anger, or a need to be "right".
8. They are knowledgeable about a myriad of topics. 
9. Even if they are not well versed in the topic at hand, they still follow and attempt to learn rather than force steering it into a realm they are more comfortable with.
10. They appreciate the value of educating, informing, enlightening, and sharing knowledge, opinions, and experiences.
11. They are not out to propagate their agenda or force you to their way of thinking.
12. They are not limited to 1 or 2 "go to" topics.  They do not turn every conversation to the same topic.
13. They understand that they are only the most fascinating person in the universe to their self - others may enjoy hearing about them and their life, but not all the damn time.  A good conversationalist can have an excellent conversation about anything, a bad one can have an excellent conversation about their self.
14. A good conversationalist listens.  A bad one is only waiting for their next opportunity to talk.

Excellent conversation fires up the mind.  It invigorates the soul.  Many of the greatest moments in my life have been centered around a night of talk - whether liquor fueled or not - with friends, family, or even people I'd just met.  Although it hardly holds a candle to face to face communication, I've even had excellent conversations via IM or other media.

I love the feeling when one can hardly even break away to go to the bathroom or get another drink because it's so difficult to break the flow of thoughts.  When the great philosophies of life end up scribbled on the backs of bar napkins.  When words get imprinted on the mind and thoughts upon the soul.  When the only thing that can drag you away is time or interference, not boredom or fatigue. 

Good conversation is inspirational.  It infuses the mind and spirit with thoughts that come alive.  It invigorates one's day with creativity and sends neurons sparking on all cylinders. It fends off negative ruminations and serves as a reminder that there is other intelligent life out there and that we can find it. 

Inspiring conversation is addictive.  Once you get a taste for it you just crave more.  Small talk and chit chat just don't cut it anymore.  There are so many things out there much more fascinating than what you've been doing lately and what's new in pop culture.  I want to know what sets someones soul on fire.  I've been reconnecting with some excellent conversationalists and I've come to notice that it's made me thirsty for more.  It's been a long time since I've actually been able to sit down and talk with anyone that didn't default to work or other life stressors.  And now all I can think about is when and where I'm going to get my next fix ;-P


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